Greening the Philippines the NIA Way

As part of the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) 53rd Anniversary celebration, the employees of Jalaur River Multi-Purpose Project Stage II (JRMP II) planted 2,000 seedlings of various fruit bearing trees at Sitio Agburi, Cahigon, Calinog, Iloilo.

The National Tree Planting was held simultaneously by all NIA offices nationwide with the advocacy to protect and sustain watersheds as well as to mitigate impacts of climate change.

A program was held in Barangay Cahigon proper before trouping to the planting site in Sitio Agburi.  

During the program, Regional Manager Gerardo P. Corsiga called everyone to work together. He added that this tree planting will help address climate change hence it should be done consistently. He also thanked the community and other government agencies for their support.

“We need to act holistically to combat the ill effects of Climate Change especially to agriculture and food security. One way of doing so is planting fruit trees in our watersheds to ensure water quantity, quality and sustainability, and source of food and livelihood for the people in the watershed areas,” Manager Corsiga disclosed. 

The trees will serve as protection for more than two hectares of the proposed buffer zone of the JRMP II. 

Challenges
Transporting the seedlings to the site was not easy. The almost 2.8 kilometers trek from Barangay Cahigon proper was tiring but never a hindrance for the 200 employees to troop to the site for the tree planting on June 10, 2016. 

Punong Barangay (PB) Alfonso Cabayao of Barangay Cahigon lauded the activity. 

“Despite the hardship of coming here, you still continue this endeavour,” Cabayao said. 

He stressed that the trees serve as protection to the river banks from landslides and thanked NIA for initiating a program which will benefit the people of Cahigon. Trees also absorb harmful gases which are  dangerous to people’s health. 

Meanwhile, Engr. Brian Semeniego proved that physical disability is not an obstruction. Despite the distance, he managed to plant trees in his assigned area. In his Facebook page, Engr. Semeniego posted “If there’s a will, there’s a way. By all means I will plant a tree”. 

His FB friends congratulated Engr. Semeniego for doing his share. One of his friends, Louie Arches Posa wrote, “Despite the physical disability, you still put your time to care for mother earth. Keep up the good work.” “Hoping abled people will do more,” said Arnold Florece with a big thumbs up.

This year’s theme is “Greening the Philippines the NIA Way”. The JRMP II tree planting activity was in partnership with the DENR-CENRO Barotac Nuevo, Philippine National Police -  Regional Public Safety Batallion 6, 301st Brigade and 61st Infantry Battalion of Philippine Army, Local Government Unit (LGU) of Calinog, Barangay Unit of Cahigon and the Elders of the IP  Community in Cahigon. /JP (Ramon C. Salvilla, CDA II)